With Home Depot and Lowes a few minutes away and a wealth of instructional videos available on YouTube, there has never been a better time to try your hand at home improvement projects. But just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Leave the following projects to the pros to save your sanity.
#1 Sanding and Staining Banisters
In home improvement circles, this project is commonly known as “The Marriage Breaker.” At first, the idea of redoing the staircase seems romantic. You and your spouse can spend time together on a project that requires no heavy lifting. And then reality sets in. You start at the bottom of the stairs and your partner starts at the top. After the first few days of work, you realize that you will never meet in the middle. Sanding all those tiny crevices on each spindle is driving you both crazy—and it’s taking a toll on your relationship. Finally, you decide to tear out the staircase and install a slide…and it’s all downhill from there.
#2 Electrical Wiring or Repairs
Changing a fuse in your breaker box or plugging in a new appliance is one thing. But rewiring any part of your house is another. Besides the obvious risk of electrocution, there are hidden risks that may not show up until later. Faulty wiring is a very common cause of house fires. And if the insurance company finds out that the job was NOT done by a licensed electrician, they won’t pay your claim. Even if your house doesn’t go up in flames, you may find the house won’t pass inspection when you want to sell it. That can be a shocking experience.
#3 Installing Kitchen Cabinets
The amount of precision required to properly install kitchen cabinets is remarkable. Eyeballing it is obviously out of the question, but even careful use of a tape measure and level leaves room for error. A centimeter off here or there means your cabinets won’t fit properly. Finding that the beautiful (expensive) cabinets you ordered don’t quite fit is a nightmare you don’t want to experience. Plus, the chances of injuring your back lifting the heavy cabinets into place is pretty high…
#4 Opening Up Walls in an Old House
Do you know what’s hiding inside your walls? The comment section of this LifeHacker post shows that sometimes, it’s better to leave well enough alone. Homes that were built between 1930-1950 often have asbestos in the insulation. You don’t want to figure that out halfway through a remodeling project when you’ve inhaled a trillion tiny fibers that are now happily at work creating scar tissue in your lungs. All the asbestos manufacturers are out of business now, so you would have no one to sue for damages.
#5 Erecting a New Structure on Your Property
Although it’s possible to construct a metal building with the help of a couple of buddies, the odds of something going wrong are high if you don’t have professional help. Whether it’s designing the building, getting a permit, determining the best location, properly reinforcing the foundation, or putting it all together, it’s much simpler to work with the pros. And, as with many home improvement projects, it’s cheaper in the long run.
What Should You Consider Before Starting a DIY Project?
- Calculate the total costs, including supplies and any tools you may need to buy or rent. Add a generous percentage for items you may have overlooked.
- Determine if the type of work involved is typically done by licensed contractors—and why (health hazards, risks of error, etc.)
- Understand whether you need a permit for the project and how it may impact the value of your home or your insurance coverage.
- Consider the time cost. Will you be missing out on activities that would be far more enjoyable than a tedious home improvement project?
- Search the web for horror stories about that type of project going wrong. Even if this doesn’t deter you, at least you can learn from the mistakes of others.
Want to understand what’s involved in designing and installing a steel building? We’re happy to give you an overview. Contact our team today to see how much of this you can do yourself, and when you may need help.